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Getting to know your neighbor: Lose yourself in a book, at the Boston Library

NEVER TOO OLD TO READ — Two young patrons take advantage of the children’s area of the Boston Free Library, which includes non-fiction, fiction, graphic novels, computer stations and more. Photos by Jessie Owen.
BOSTON — In the crook of Boston State Road sits a library that has welcomed patrons of all ages, for more than 100 years.

The Boston Free Library was created, thanks to an idea perpetrated by the Boston Centre Library Association, in 1889. A 50-book memorial library was established, but grew, after community members took an interest in the new facility.

Area residents, seeking a permanent library to which they could bring their children, met at the Patchin Fire Hall in October 1947, to discuss the establishment of a library.

The New York State Board of Regents granted a charter to the Boston Free Library Association in 1948 and the library officially began operating as part of the Erie County Library System, the following year.

COME ON BY — The Boston Free Library is located at 9475 Boston State Road in Boston.
The Boston Free Library was housed in the former Boston Fire Hall, before moving to its present location, on Boston State Road. The current building formerly housed a one-room schoolhouse.

“I’ve watched this little library grow and expand,” said Director Laura McLeod, who has worked at the library for more than 20 years. “We are still a small-town library,” she said. “We still know the names of the people who walk through the door.”

ON THE SILVER SCREEN — The Boston Library has a growing collection of Blu-Ray© movies, for patrons to choose from.
Although the Boston Free Library retains its original roots, McLeod pointed out many changes that have occurred, during the past few years, including the addition of many Blu-Ray© DVDs, audio books, eBooks and an extensive amount of research materials and library access tools, on the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library System’s website.

HOW CAN I HELP YOU? — Librarian Lydia Herren is pictured, checking out books at the library’s front counter.
“We value service. True service,” McLeod said. “We want people to know that books change lives.”
In addition to its newer offerings, the library continues to provide its patrons with music CDs, DVDs, audio books, adult fiction, full-color research books, young adult graphic novels, young adult non-fiction, magazines and more. “We have a fresher, newer browsing collection,” McLeod said.

The library contains thousands of movies and books, as well as the expanding Blu-Ray collection.

The children’s room, decorated with a wild animal motif, also includes several of the library’s 10 available Internet workstations and laptops, for use in-house. “We are very proud of our children’s room,” McLeod said. “We love families and are very family-friendly. It’s not just your parents’ library. When you come in here, you can hear children laughing.”

The library is kicking off its summer programming schedule, which includes a story hour, for kids ages 3 – 5. The library’s website will list upcoming events and patrons are also invited to stop into the library, to get more information.

In addition, registration is now open, for the 15th annual Battle of the Books, for kids in grades six – nine. More information may be obtained, by calling or visiting the library.

READY TO COOK — The library offers an extensive research section, which includes everything from do-it-yourself books, to a range of cookbooks.
“Children who are read to become readers,” McLeod said. “The greatest gift parents can give their children is to read to them, when they are small.” McLeod said that she can see a marked difference, between children who spend time reading and those who do not. “It’s phenomenal. It makes a huge difference,” she said. “They do better at school, when they have been able to incorporate reading into their lives.

“Reading brings families together,” McLeod added, and indicated the various types of materials available to borrow. “Pick out a movie. Read magazines together. Take an audio book along, on a car trip.”

The library’s circulation is constantly being added to. McLeod said that the items kept in-house are “weeded, based upon circulation, condition and relevancy. We believe our collection should be fresh and new and popular.”

The library receives daily deliveries, from the rest of the locations in the Erie County system. “What we don’t have here, we can get for you,” McLeod said. Requests for materials may be made online, on the phone or in person, at the library.

Patrons may check out movies for seven days and most books for three weeks. Renewals may be made online, in person or over the phone. “Everything can be circulated,” McLeod said. “Everything is self-serve and open.”

STAY CONNECTED — Six Internet work stations, in addition to four laptops that may be utilized in-house, are available for patrons’ use.
A public copy machine is available and patrons may also print materials off of the library’s computers.

“People love their little library,” McLeod said. “The communities that we serve make us special.”

PICK ME UP — Pictured is a shelf of new books, ready for patrons’ exploration.
The library experienced more than 32,000 patron visits, during 2012, and added more than 1,300 new books, to its circulation.

The Boston Free Library is located at 9475 Boston State Road in Boston. Open hours are Mondays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Tuesdays from noon – 8 p.m., Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Fridays from 1 – 8 p.m.

For more information, call 941-3516 or visit www.buffalolib.org.

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